IWB : a classroom experience!

 I’m a student teacher and one of the novelties in ICTs that many teachers present to us as a great tool for our going-to-be teaching is the IWB. It is also known as smartboard or activboard, two common brands used in our school system.

How can I integrate this tool?

Upon reflecting on how to integrate this technology in my teaching, I first read about the four steps of using this tool. The authors of this document refer to those steps as ”ways” to integrate IWBs. Of course, my first view on the subject would have been to say that I should use it in an ”Interactive” way but I believe that another step may be taken into the account of these steps. Another step that may be linked to all the ”ways” presented in this paper. I would call it the ”creative way”.

With further explorations, I came across different programs and online activities that may offer a certain type of creativity or ”canvassed” activities. I first came across makebeliefscomix that offers the students and the teacher an opportunity to create comic strips and print them. Then I came across another document that showed different possibilities offered to teachers and students and some of them were creative such as draw characters on the board using TuxPaint and other software and as much as these ideas seemed appealing. I will surely integrate them into my teaching but I still didn’t find what I wanted.

Finally, I came across the idea that most activities presented on the interent that were prepared by teachers were student-directed or teacher-directed. Of course, classes mostly exist for students but I think that the ideas proposed are for students only and teachers only and not for the ”classroom as a whole”. The idea of ”classroom as a whole” is well depicted in a video made by the ”Comission Scolaire des Milles-Isles”. It creates an atmosphere in which students and teachers can be creative and in which IWBs are used as a simple tool, just as a pen and a piece of paper may be used. I think that this is the way I would integrate this tool, just as any other tool, an efficient one, in the classroom and not only for the students but also for teachers and both combined.

Why would this make my teaching better?

After answering the question how, we have to answer the question why.

I believe that, by integrating this tool, my teaching will be better. I think it may be better because, as said by Kai-Ti Yang and Tzu-Hua Wang, IWBs are flexible and versatile. Indeed, you can have students of any age use this tool efficiently and it is really easy to adapt to different subjects. For example, if I wanted to use this tool to have my students work on geography lexicon or on different musical themes, I could do it. It is an intuitive tool and students can easily get the hang of it.

Another point to consider is,as Dr. Mary Ann Bell writes it, that it is also a very colourful and attractive tool . Think about this example. You have created a great activity with colours and pictures but you have to print the copy for the whole class to be able to follow your instructions. Printing in colour is expansive and your students wouuld end up having a gray sheet of paper that could have been nice and colourful. The IWB makes the whole difference from this point of view.

Including interactive whiteboard in my teaching would also make it better in a technical way. Indeed, when you think of the fact, as IWB-EFL points it out, that you can save all your work on the board and send it to other students, it makes for a great tool. If you mix it with the ”creative” way, it makes your teaching better because you can have the students create on he board and save it. You could even share it with other classes and teachers.

Furthermore, think about those students who do not like using a dull pen or pencil to write text on paper. Using the IWB in a ”creative” way helps to focus on those students practice those skills they like so much and show their real colours, not the ones that are related to a more orthodox way of teaching. A few years ago, the concept of ”multiple intelligences” appeared in the field of teaching. I think that integrating IWB in teaching can make it better because it helps the teacher reach certain types of students. It also helps certain students who would not find it easy to use a small screen like a computer.

All these  are going to make my teaching better with the use of Smartboard.

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